The macro lens I usually reach for is the Nikon 105mm ƒ/2.8 VR Micro. I use it not just for flowers (and cherry blossoms), but also for product shots, general macro photography, and even as a more generalized travel lens. You can see some examples here.
The Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED macro lens is much larger and, in many ways, both more specialized and more limited in its uses. This is not a lens I’m inclined to leave on the camera when walking around. But there are situations it really comes into its own, especially when you want to bring the scene in close, but it would be well under the minimum focusing distance of something like the Nikon 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 zoom. 1
I’ve posted a more detailed hands-on review of this lens separately. This collection of sample images is designed to complement that review.
Optical Correction Tools
I deliberately haven’t applied extensive corrections to these images. And the general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it after. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common issues with lenses, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, and lens vignetting when editing the images. All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in already that often cater to specific lens profiles (or you can make your own).
Some more specialized tools can take it even further. DxO, in particular, sets the gold standard. Their software is built on the foundation of their incredibly deep archive of data from their extensive lab testing of the optical performance of lenses and cameras. But there are some other excellent specialized tools available. These are well worth a look (and have free trials):
- DxO Pure RAW (for a suite of automatic RAW file corrections enhancement)
- DxO ViewPoint (correcting for distortion and geometry)
- Topaz Labs Sharpen AI (in addition to standard unsharp tools, includes focus correction and shake reduction)
- On1 NoNoise (includes Tack Sharp AI, which applies sharpening)
Where to Find Them
Since I originally posted this, this lens has been discontinued, and they’re not easy to find new or used anymore.
Accessories for the Nikon 200mm f/4D IF-ED Micro Lens
Lens Hood. Oddly, the lens doesn’t come with a lens hood included—it’s an optional extra. But the hood for this lens is model number HN-30 screw-in lens hood. It is a cylindrical lens hood that, like most lens hoods made by the major manufacturers, is overpriced for what it is, but it does serve a very useful function, especially for macro photography when you want to minimize stray light. In practice, you might find that there are other aftermarket 62mm lens hoods that will work just fine on this lens, but I haven’t tried them.
Lens Case. It comes with an old-school hard lens case, the CL-45. This is included when you buy the lens, but you can also replace it if something happens to your original one. There’s no particular reason you need to use the official Nikon case; there are plenty of other good options you can find.
- The Nikon 200mm f/4D IF-ED has a minimum focus distance of 1.6 ft / 0.5 meters. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II has a minimum focus distance of 4.6 ft / 1.4 meters.